Thursday, January 27, 2011




But they seem to want to play it the same way.

Used to be, ‘the player on his feet is king’. No more.

Here’s the situation, which only happens a couple of dozen times a game:
I have the ball. You put me to ground but you stay on your feet. Both of us have our hands on the ball while I am on the ground.

Until this year, I had to let go of the ball so that you could have it.

Now, YOU have to let go of the ball and demonstrate two things to the referee: that you have indeed let go of the ball and that none of your weight is supported by your hands/arms. And both of your feet have to be on your team’s side of my body before you can reach for the ball again.

You may have tackled me but you are not a tackler: you are a ‘tackle assist’.

You need to demonstrate the release of the ball and the absence of weight on the upper extremities by either SHOWING the referee the palms of both your hands or by SPREADING your arms apart. (This one is referred to as the ‘butterfly’ as you read about this issue.)

The citation is here:

We don’t make this stuff up: Ruling 1-2010, issued 10 March 2010
“Players who were attached to the player who is tackled, and who remain on their feet, must release the player and the ball (Law 15.6 (c)) and then may play the ball in accordance with Law 15.6 (b).”


For February 5th we have 31 games and 21 refs. Two or our stalwarts were lost for the next month or so due to injuries sustained last weekend.

If you would like to referee YOU HAVE TO LET US KNOW. Pretty please. We can’t assign games hoping people will fulfill the assignments, but we dread the thought that someone is sitting at home wondering why they don’t get to ref and five miles away some old boy is blowing a game.

From Chris Tucker:

“I got confirmation from Ed Todd that he's going to be giving an hour-ish clinic for the more experienced refs on how to coach newer refs. Part of our strategy in Sac Valley is to try to get the active society refs to hold the hands of the newly-minted L3's as they take their first faltering steps with the whistle, and this is to help us along. Refs from other parts of NorCal are, of course, welcome and encouraged to attend.

“5.30pm at the KOT pitch at Granite Regional Park off Power Inn Road (where Sac State vs. Davis is taking place).”

MARITIME ACADEMY 36 – Western Oregon 19 Referee: Jim Crenshaw
Friday night was another perfect evening for rugby - cool crisp and no wind (a pleasant surprise) in Vallejo.

The first half looked like it was going to be a Maritime runaway after they scored 19 unanswered points, but the Oregon men made it respectable, with the halftime score 19 to 12.

In the second half, Maritime scored 12 points before Western Oregon answered with a try, but it was all they could muster.

Maritime scored another try near the end of the match, to finish the scoring.

Seconds: Maritime Academy – SF Fog Referee: Rich Boyer
No report received.

SFGG 38 – James Bay 13 Referee: Phil Akroyd
Evaluator: Dixon Smith
The weather was perfect on Treasure Island on Saturday for some pre-game tanning. Highs in the mid 60s and sunshine.

There were approximately ten past and current internationals on the field and the quality showed in the pace of the game. There was a lot of action in the first half but also a lot of mistakes, allowing for extended periods of advantage but not many points scored. San Francisco scored first, about half way through the first half, but James Bay continued to apply pressure and gained several penalties in the opposition 22. They managed to slot one for three points.

Golden Gate were on the border line of legality in terms of dangerous play for most of the first half. After being warned for high tackles, a stiff arm tackle from the Gate number 8 and an ensuing dust up left two Gate players (Pulu and Manoa) in the bin going into half time. James Bay took the opportunity on the stroke of half time to score in the corner and lead 7-8 at the break.

Gate really got it together in the second half and made their passes stick and to their support runners. Once across the gain line, backs and forwards were lined up to take the ball on further and out muscle the visitors. They scored five second half tries, mainly in their backs as the out-stretched the Canadian Premier side time after time. The Bay center Smith scored the last points of the game with a break down the left wing from just under half way to finish up the game.

SFGG COLTS 79 – Berkeley RFC 5 Referee: John Pohlman
AR's/TJ's: Shawn from Berkeley, Bjorn Stumer first half Mose Timoteo second half. Thanks to all three for the help
Dixon Smith Assessor/Coach

This Saturday took me to the Treasure Island Golden Gate rugby experience. The James Bay's Canadian Captain who had played for the national team commented on how great it is to play rugby on Treasure Island. You know you have a nice venue when a capped international player is impressed.

I always like crossing the Bay Bridge and seeing San Francisco Bay. But the ride home saw the city of San Francisco with a sunsetting red sky which made me want to sing some Tony Bennett.

My game saw SFGG's Colts side hosting Berkeley's first side. I had refereed a Berkeley/Marin game last year and thought this could be a fun, fast and competitive game. Well two out of three ain't bad.

Well I expected two well-coached teams with good athletes and some early season rust. What I got was a SFGG back line which was electric. Once in the first half and once in the second half the SFGG back-line scored 3 trys in 6 minutes of running time. SFGG captain Joe started the scoring with circus pass between his legs. This was not showboating. He received a bad pass that fell before him and with one motion passed between his legs to a bursting center.

One of the trys of the day came from the Cody brothers. These two backs made a side line try which consisted of each passing and receiving the ball at least two to three times.

And this was all against a Berkeley side which was good. Berkeley's captain Joe scored a try off a blocked kick towards the end of the game.

So second division be warned the SFGG team has good forwards with a great work rate and backs who can finish.

SFGG COLTS seconds 58 – Berkeley RFC seconds 0 Referee: Bjorn Stumer
Even the second side of San Francisco Golden Gate's Colts was too much for a short Berkeley B side, further depleted by injuries. Although they never gave up, the Berkeley lads were at the receiving end of a flurry of tries from San Francisco. Five tries were scored per half which, augmented by 4 conversions ended in the uneven score. The action belied the score as both teams went at it with gusto. Fun for all!

Sac Capitals 17 –OLYMPIC CLUB 48 Referee: George O'Neil

Seconds: Sac Capitals 5 – OLYMPIC CLUB 25 Ref: O’Neil

San Mateo 0 – EPA BULLDOGS 32 Referee: Preston Gordon
AR: Bruce Bernstein

Seconds: SAN MATEO 19 – EPA Bulldogs 17 Referee: Bruce Bernstein
Hard to know this was "seconds" & only a scrimmage with 6 pretty spectacular tries & only one more conversation for the winner.

EPA Razorbacks 20 – BARBARIANS 29 Referee: John Coppinger
Saturday, in Palo Alto, Bay Barbarians I's quickly fell behind a fired-up EPA Razorback I's side. Bay Barbarians took a 17-15 lead just at halftime. Bay Barbarians went out 29-20 winners as the tiring Razorbacks made numerous errors and penalties allowing Bay Barbarians to kick four penalty goals in the second half to ice the game. Good, hard hitting match played in good spirits.

Seconds: EPA RAZORBACKS 31 – Barbarians 26 Referee: Bruce Ricard
The game started one hour late because teams were not ready, on a beautiful sunny and not too hot weather: perfect for playing rugby. A lot of players from both teams already played the first game, their legs were already starting to hurt.

[Editor’s synopsis of the report: Suffice it to say that there were a lot of disciplinary problems.]

Chico 31 – Baracus 31 Referee: Jim Crenshaw
The Oaks seemed to be in control in the first half with a 24 to 12 lead at half time, but they couldn't hold on to it.

Baracus came back to tie it about half way through the second half.

Chico scored a try to retake the lead, but gave up a late score to end the match.

Seems the match ended with both teams having scored approximately the same amount of points... bummer!! :-o :-)

It also seems that both teams weren't quite up to speed about releasing the tackled player, but a couple of yellow cards seemed to resolve the problem.

That and a number of discussions at the Bear about what the law says!!

Seconds: CHICO 21 – Baracus 14 Referee: Beau McSwain
I had my debut at officiating a full real game this last weekend. The final result was Chico B beating Baracus three tries to two with all conversions being made.

Vallejo – Diablo Gaels
Not sure whether this one was played.

SHASTA by forfeit over Reno Academy Would-Be Referee: Dave Ellis
THURSDAY- Game confirmed by Shasta. Go for a run, polish up the boots, boil the whistle. FRIDAY- Game cancelled by Reno. Go for another run, pack up the boots and whistle for another week. SATURDAY- Should be a rugby day but isn't. Major disappointment for 20+ Shasta ruggers who needed the game to prepare for their season and 1 ref.

South Valley – Redwood
Not sure whether this one was played, either.

St. Mary's thirds 5 – VACAVILLE 32 Referee: Eric Rauscher
AR: Ron De Causemaker
Sacramento State field, firm and sunny
This game was originally supposed to be vs Seahawks U23 at St Mary’s. One thing I have learned as I go along is to be flexible; it makes life a lot easier.
The game consisted of three 20min periods, with open subs, ie, it was a learning game. St Mary’s displayed some fine scrum work (albeit being a little earlier on the engage that had to be worked out). Vacaville however was able to distribute the ball out of rucks quickly and send it across the field in a coordinated way. It still being early in the season, many of the penalties were just due to inexperience.

Sac State 29 – ST. MARY’S 49 Referee: Chris Tucker
ARs: Eric Rauscher, Ron Decausemaker
Bright, sunny spring-like day in Sacramento for a game that could almost be described with the same 3 adjectives. Both teams played positive, but error-prone rugby, with St. Mary's moving the ball very well, scoring 9 tries in all, but only converting 2 in a poor display of kicking. They also gave the home side 3 of their 5 tries, gift wrapped with a little bow on top. Of course you still need to take the opportunity, and full marks for doing so. The game changed once the St. Mary's full back left the game with an injury, because his replacement was unsure of how to play one of the most complex positions on the field. Sac kicked to him every chance they got, and put up their last two tries from subsequent pressure. But the visitors held on to their lead in spite of losing their captain to a sin bin for an elbow to the head of the kicker late in the game. Close to a red, lucky for him it was close to the end of the game.

Thanks to eric and ron for holding down the lines for me.

Seconds: Sac State 27 – ST. MARY’S 40 Referee: Bryant Byrnes
Immediately following the firsts in Sacramento-the Valley at its wintry best; clear and balmy.

Early season at this level, it takes a bit to figure stuff out. The Gaels figured it out first-swinging the ball wide to the wing-and scored at 15 minutes in. And then often; it was 26-0 at half.

The last half was a horse of a different color (there were substitutions); the Hornets themselves swing it wide and score 27 points. The Gaels get two more with conversations to notch it. The best part of the game? An absolutely ferocious Sac forward attack from 5 meters out, gallantly but barely thwarted by the Gael pack. Finally, finally, the ball goes out to the backs; a try; full time.

CALIFORNIA 95 – Chico State 5 Referee: James Hinkin
ARs: Tom Zanarini, Rich Boyer/JC Van Staden
Evaluator: Mike Malone

An absolutely gorgeous day on Treasure Island was the setting for Cal v Chico St. Tom Zanarini and Rich Boyer graciously offered to AR the match, with JC Van Staden stepping in at the half for Rich so he could warm up and prepare for the B side match. It is a luxury to have trained ARs and is a great help for a match such as this. Thanks goes to all of you.

The match itself went according to the form book. Relentless Cal pressure saw Chico constantly defending and while they tackled hard initially they didn't have an answer to the 3rd and 4th wave of Cal ruggers. The Chico back line missed several assignments early on and were duly punished. Chico had a couple of penalty attempts go wide but aside from that never really threatened the Cal line. And what can you say about Cal? It seemed that at every tackle there were options available and almost always the correct one was taken.

The second half saw Cal change the team en masse displaying the depth that has become the hallmark of their program. The game evened out somewhat at this point so that while Cal was still dominant Chico were able to make some headway towards the Cal line. They were rewarded late on with a forward try after attacking the Cal line for a sustained period which included a drive over the line that was initially ruled held up by myself, but changed to a full penalty based on input from JC (ARs are sooooo nice). The subsequent penalty was tapped and, after several phases, the try was scored. A little solace in a match that saw Cal score 15 tries (10 converted).

Special note should be made of the behavior of the teams, and especially the captains Derek and Charlie (Cal) and Tony (Chico). Both sides were disciplined and respectful and were concentrating on playing rugby. Scorelines such as this can sometimes lead to frustration but a penalty count of less than 10 with no scuffles/dirty play reflects very well on the character of both teams. My hat, if I were to wear one, would be off to them.

Seconds: California – Chico State Referee: Tom Zanarini
No report received.

STANFORD 29 – UC Davis 12 Referee: Rich Anderson
In a stunning result, Stanford defeated UC Davis 29-12 in their home opener. Stanford featured an explosive offense and tight defense. Davis was unable to cross the try line until the final minutes of the match.

Seconds: Stanford 10 – UC DAVIS 41 Referee: Sandy Robertson
One of Stanford's props was injured on Friday, so uncontested scrums were the order of the day. Made for a wide open running afternoon. Davis was too big and too skilled for Stanford, but the game remained a contest throughout.

Nevada – Fresno State CANCELED

UC SANTA CRUZ 74 – U. of the Pacific 5 Referee: Chris Fisher

SIERRA JC 66 – Humboldt State 0 Referee: Scott Wood
TJs: Nathan Jones (Sierra), Jerry Soho (Humboldt)
Location: Eureka School, Granite Bay

A beautiful, sunny day. The pitch was well marked, albeit the 22s were a bit shy, and very serviceable.

Sierra College has huge numbers. Humboldt State arrived with 16. Both teams played with positive attitudes. The hosts scored early and often in the first half. Humboldt had problems with tackling and killing the ball. The second half only had three tries but that may be attributed to Sierra College trying different things rather than just running up the score.

Seconds: Sierra JC – Humboldt State
Your guess is as good as ours.
[Webmaster's note: HSU had too many injured, etc players and cancelled this match later in the week.]

Chico State women 17 – UC Davis 17 Referee: Rob Hendrickson
Chico State women played to a draw against their valley rivals UC Davis women in a well played, evenly matched game in Chico. The pitch was firm, the sun was out, although the modest but steady north wind blowing almost straight down the pitch gave an advantage to the team with the wind at their backs, and Davis used it to their advantage to come back in the second half. Chico surprised everyone with a back line dropped goal before half time.

CALIFORNIA women 60 – UC Santa Cruz 0 Referee: Sean Peters
A beautiful day at the Tom Bates Field Complex in Berkley, where both teams were real early to arrive before game time.

After I gave instructions to both front rows and captains, the kick off was ready. Slugs received the kicked and went on the quick attack but were over-matched by Berkeley's big forwards overpowering them in the scrums and counter attacking off the rucks.

At half the slugs were not giving up and staged several big runs from their #8 and #12 but just couldn’t finish , at half 17-0.

The second half of the game Berkeley made some adjustments and came out hard and fast , Berkeley's forwards dominated in the loose play from their big #4 ,#8 and #18 that set up a couple more trys and created lots of room for their backline to start having huge runs from their #15 and #20.

But the Slugs never gave up ,they fought with their heads up , both teams were well coached and disciplined ......end score 60-0 Berkley

Stanford women 20 – FRESNO STATE 25 Referee: Liz Palmer
Stanford won the coin toss, chose to receive and defend North end of the pitch. Fresno gave warning of very new front row, and in the 4th minute a prop needed a blood sub for a head wound needing stitches. At the 7th minute by the request of a Stanford prop and the coach, I chatted with both coaches and decided that uncontested scrums would be safest for the rest of the match.

Stanford was the more experienced and fit team, with Fresno getting offside, not releasing ball/player, and playing the ball on the ground penalties. However Stanford had many knock-ons and forward passes, essentially providing Fresno with possession b/c of uncontested scrums. Fresno defense was stronger than their offense, thus although the majority of the match was played in Fresno's end of the pitch they were able to hold Stanford to 4 tries. At halftime the score was Stanford 10, Fresno 5. At the 78th minute Fresno scored their 4th try; tying the match 20-20. I added the time lost (3:30) and Fresno was able to make a 90-meter run to score on the final play at 83 minutes. Final score Fresno 25, Stanford 20.

Had Stanford not had so many knock-ons and forward passes, they would probably have scored a few more tries.

Humboldt State women 5 –SANTA CLARA 14 Referee: Cary Bertolone
I arrived at the Island (Peninsula) of Manila, next to Eureka, a little early, at 9:30 am to find the sun coming through and the field full of players warming up and seemingly ready to go, an hour and half before game time. Impressive on both counts! The game started at 11:00 am, and Humboldt controlled the beginning of the game. They have several individual players that are quite athletic and they controlled the rucking. With still no score, Santa Clara's #10 and team captain, Angelina, intercepted a pass, made a couple of cuts and ran in a center try, followed by her own conversion. Santa Clara then started to exert their skills, working really well together as a team. They had one almost try "held up" and missed a couple of pretty makeable penalty kicks. They started winning most of the rucks and had more attacking ball. The half ended with Santa Clara up only 7-0. The second half began with Santa Clara dominating the game by playing as a team. They scored on third or fourth phase ball and had the game in hand, 14-0. Humboldt fought hard but made a lot of penalty mistakes and even had to play down for 10 minutes because of repeated infringements after too many warnings. And then, with 5 minutes to go, Humboldt fought for field position with several phases with great rucking of their own. With 30 seconds to go, I called last play at a scrum down on about the 30 meter line. Humboldt proceeded to take the ball to the goal line where they tried to put it in 8-10 times with Santa Clara making every tackle. Humboldt kept winning the rucks and the game must of went on for 3 minutes before Humboldt's tall lock got it down for a last play try for Humboldt, the final score being 14-5, Santa Clara. A great rugby sequence definitely enjoyed by the crowds!! Lots of fun and the Eel River was gorgeous on the drive to and fro!!

JV: Elsie Allen 12 – SANTA ROSA 15 Referee: Cary Bertolone
ARs: Mike King, Tom Zanarini
Elsie kicked off at 6:00 PM, under the lights of Elsie Allen High School, to a youthful Rosa team and off they went. Mostly freshman and sophomores, there was a lot of enthusiasm from both sides and some pretty good speed by some, making for an exciting rugby game. Cardinal Newman/Rosa scored the first two tries to take a 10-0 halftime lead. Elsie came back with a try to close the gap. In the end, Rosa held Elsie off for a 15-12 victory. Mike King and I were then AR's for the Hayward High vs Elsie Allen game that Tom Zanarini took care of. That did not end until after 9:00 PM.

Varsity: Elsie Allen 8 – HAYWARD 48 Referee: Tom Zanarini
ARs: Mike King and Cary Bertolone
A beautiful night on the all-weather pitch at Elsie Allen High School. Cary had a great match at 6pm refereeing the Elsie Allen JV's v Santa Rosa and was kind enough to run touch for the varsity match. Mike King also made it to run touch at both matches to make everything look official for a nice Friday night of rugby.

Both teams put up a great match but the athleticism of Hayward overcame the technique of EA. If the EA boys get some more time in the weight room they will be extremely competitive. A pleasure to referee both teams and hope I see them again this season.

Golden Gate – Lamorinda Referee: John Coppinger
I was asked to cover a 10 am Sunday match at TI between Lamorinda and SF/GG Academy. The coaches decided to treat it as a scrimmage with 4-20 minute periods. Because of the format and a delay in the kick-off, I could only referee the first three periods. The match featured lots of good rugby, albeit with some rust in the set pieces, SF/GG was leading 17-10 when I departed.

Sevens Lovers
Photograph by Scriptoris, at the Uprising Sevens in Suva, Fiji:
Standing: Tori and John Tyler, Bill ‘Stretcher’ Satala, Greg Stoehr, DigiCel players Michael Nabuliwaqa and Marika Vunibaka, Ben Green (San Luis Obispo), Waisale Serevi, Suipele Sakalia (EPA Razorbacks/SFGG), Jack Halalilo (San Mateo), Volney Rouse (SFGG)
Squatting: Saia Vainuku (Provo), Folau Niua (EPA Bulldogs/SFGG)

Serevi you know. He cannot walk ten meters without being asked to pose for a photo, even in the Nadi Airport.

Vunibaka had a nice career with the All Blacks and Canterbury.

Satala literally cannot walk down the street in Fiji without cars stopping to ask if he needs a ride.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Tuesday, January 25, 2011




It comes to our attention late every week through a panic-filled series of e-mails from teams asking who their referee is supposed to be.

Please check to see what your assignments are. We try to stay two weeks ahead but it’s nearly impossible.

It’s Monday. See where you are going to be this weekend. Contact the home team by e-mail (contacts listed on the website). If you don’t hear back by Wednesday, call them.

If you find out that the contact information is out-of-date, ask them to let webmaster Scott Wood know so that he can update the site. Otherwise, each subsequent referee will have to chase the same elusive quarry.


Your editor is only recently returned from the Fiji Islands, where Internet service proved spotty. Then too, the crush of business that descends after a week away means this week’s compilation may take a day or two longer than normal. So here, forthwith, are the match reports from the weekend of January 15.

Wednesday, January 12:
Sacramento State 3 – CALIFORNIA 69 Referee: Jim Crenshaw

Seconds: Sac State 0 – CALIFORNIA 91 Referee: Rich Boyer
The weather and field were perfect for the track meet, er game.

Cal started off with back line play, a few scissors, and good ball handling. 40-0 at half.

Brandon Kraft, former Jesuit flyhalf, played well, as did the inside center Nafisi, with each scoring multiple tries. Sac State was game, but had many unseasoned players. They tackled well, but did not come near the disciplined, surgical approach by Cal.

The Sac State players tired from being on the back foot in the second half (with limited subs) and the back line defense became disjointed. Cal exploited this at every opportunity, despite wholesale personnel changes. Cal rarely went past the first phase in the second half: 15 meter pass from scrummie to fly; 20 meter pass fly to inside; wide ball to fullback, then 2 on 1 pass to the wing #14. The speed of this game was unrivaled by any I have reffed.

Former Jesuit standout Jason Fry scored a nice support try from a long break by Kraft, who converted on 8 of 15 conversions.

Dante Walters, former Christian Bros player, played his heart out and made numerous critical tackles. Sac State's #14 is a strong player who will continue to improve with games played. Marquis, the other winger, had a fine game for Sac State as well.

Final score 91-0. Great sportsmanship from both sides and no issues. Special thanks to ARs Tristan Boyer, Rob Hendrickson and Jim Crenshaw, the ageless one.

Saturday, January 15:
Barbarians 13 – SAN MATEO 23 Referee: Aruna Ranaweera
On a sunny 65F day in Hayward, visiting San Mateo RFC and the referee were told to arrive at the artificial turf field at Alden Oliver Park for 1:30-2pm kickoff, but we were then informed that kickoff will be at 2:30pm. This was further delayed while the team rosters and improvised field markings and barriers were established, so actual kickoff was around 2:45pm. The match was played with physical intensity and open play was indicative of a preseason encounter with many missed passes and late support. Both teams showed good structure in the set pieces and mauls, but back play resembled a pickup game. San Mateo exploited gaps in the Barbarian defense to score two tries en route to a 15-6 half-time edge. (To account for the delayed start and the need to play a 2nd XV match before the field closed, actual playing time was 30-35 minutes per half.) In the second half, both team established better continuity and had several opportunities to score, but the last pass often went astray or was dropped. In the end, San Mateo was the more organized team and did just enough to stay ahead, 3 tries to 1. With more practice, both teams will be fun to watch during the regular season. Preston Gordon drove from Stanford to referee the 2nd XV match. Much thanks to the Barbarians for the post-match pizza.

Seconds: Barbarians – San Mateo Referee: Preston Gordon
No report received. Not sure if they played this one.

SACRAMENTO LIONS 39 – EPA Razorbacks 10 Referee: Joe Androvich
Big men. Big hits. Slow and narrow field hampered EPA’s skilled and crafty backline. Lions proved more physical in defense and attack and took the victory. A mid season rematch on a different field may yield different results.

Seconds: Sacramento Lions 5 – EPA Razorbacks 5 Ref: Androvich

Chico – Sac Caps Referee: Jim Crenshaw
No report received.

Seconds: Chico – Sac Caps

Stanislaus – Paso Robles Ref?
No report received.

RENO ACADEMY 62 – Santa Rosa 34 Referee: Don Pattalock
AR/TJ: P. Ulibarri/Seletti Mokofisi
On a beautiful day in Reno, the rugby was running wild. In a great match of rugby, Reno’s mix of youth, experience and athleticism won out over Santa Rosa’s youth and solid game plan. Played in great spirit and ultimately great rugby won the day.

Monterey Bay 7 – FRESNO 59 Referee: Bruce Carter
For those who will be games listed as Aptos on the schedule, do not be discouraged when you see one only CIPP member of that club. They are taking the field as a combined Monterey Bay team and have more than thirty players registered under ‘Monterey’.

But the third division is a long way from the second, maybe as long as the 150-mile drive from Fresno. But with high-sixties weather and no clouds, it was a drive worth making to escape the tule fog and the tedium of pre-season practices.

The referee has to sheepishly take credit for Monterey’s try. Having worked out the pattern he got a little lazy around the base of the ruck. Monterey’s halfback made an unexpected spin to the left to pass weak and found a non-combatant in the passing lane.

Double-clutching, he tucked the ball and turned upfield, apparently surprising all thirty-one on the pitch. Thirty-five meters and five points later he accepted the referee’s apology.

Marin 32 – BARACUS 42 Referee: Eric Rauscher
Marin City Field grounds rough and soggy, weather sunny and clear
The friendly was played in three 40 min periods with open subs at dead ball. Baracus seemed to have not only a larger squad, but more experienced also. Both sides had rookies. The first period saw good rugby played side to side and up and down the field with the first score only coming at 30 min in. At the end of the first period, Baracus was up 12/5. Baracus dominated the second period and the Reds seemed to get a little frustrated. A yellow card for foolishness 28 min in cooled things down and at the end of the 2nd period Baracus was up 32/13. The third period was a joy to ref. We were back to good play with both sides scoring back and forth. In the end Baracus had the lead, but the Reds played with heart and played well stringing together phases, something that they just didn't seem to be able to do in the second. There being rookies in the game, it was a bit difficult to ref, but it was an enjoyable experience none the less.

SF Fog – San Bruno Saints CANCELED

SF FOG 29 – U. of the Pacific 24 Referee: Jen Tetler
A beautiful day on Treasure Island. Since the original Fog A-side match was cancelled due to lack of CIPP'd players, University of the Pacific gamely agreed to play 30/30/20 against the Fog's A and B sides. The college players came out hard and surprised the old guys by scoring the first try of the game. The Fog answered pretty quickly with a try of their own and then two more before the end of the first half. "Halftime" score: 17-5. The second half included two more tries by each team, including a beautiful pushover try by the Fog (as a tight 5 player, this always makes my heart swell). At the end of 60 minutes (what the Fog was considering their "a-side" match) the score was 29-17. Both teams had some new folks playing in the last 10 minutes and there was a lot of back and forth. UoP kept up their fast pace, and a well placed kick (followed by a penalty plus not getting back 10) resulted in a penalty try for UoP.

Berkeley – South Valley Referee: George O'Neil
No report received.

St. MARY’S thirds 48 – Stanford seconds 24 Referee: Sandy Robertson
Stanford drew first blood but St Mary's dominated most of the wide open, running match with Stanford counterattacking to a couple of late tries.

ST. MARY’S 77 – Stanford 7 Referee: Paul Bretz
AR: Ron Decausemaker
St. Mary's defeated Stanford 77-7 in an entertaining all be it one sided affair.
Stanford never gave up and I'm sure they will apply the lessons learned in future matches.

St. Mary's seconds 27 – SIERRA COLLEGE 33 Referee: Tony Levitan
Referee Coach: David Williamson
Glorious weather for the closing match of a trifecta at St. Mary's magnificent pitch, the first two which were hardly contests with St. Mary's A and C sides running roughshod over Stanford's As and Bs respectively. Our match would prove to be a bit more competitive.

The match featured 10 tries and loads of wide-open play with Sierra claiming and holding on to an edge in scoring that lasted to the final whistle. After Sierra jumped ahead 14-0 on the strength of two converted tries, the sides traded unconverted tries to close the half with Sierra leading, 19-10.

Two more converted tries early in the second half were just enough cushion for Sierra to hold off a furious closing rush by St. Mary's which, under the dynamic leadership and play by their scrum-half and captain, put across 3 more tries (2 converted) in the closing 25 minutes.

As a coach and evaluator, Dave was enormously helpful to me on a number of points, providing feedback both at halftime and post-game. He also helped heroically putting into context outbursts of distemper displayed by coaches from both sides, and offering guidance on how to better manage the situation.

Thanks, Dave!

UC Davis 13 – CHICO STATE 16 Referee: Chris Tucker
AR: Scott Wood, Donal Walsh
A good, closely fought game on a cool, misty day at UCD's recreation fields. Game was close throughout, with Davis opening the scoring mid-way through the first half with a penalty, quickly answered with one for the visitors. Davis came right back, winning a lineout deep in the Chico 22, a well taken ball, several phases resulted in a try under the posts, duly converted.

Davis looked to continue their pressure, after the kickoff, but they never got out of their own 22 after the kickoff. A turnover was spun out to the wing, who skipped a tackle and dotted down out wide. The missed conversion set up a close game in the second half – Chico scored a penalty 9 minutes into the second half for a one point lead, and then after a dangerous tackle after 20, Davis took the lead back again.

Both teams played hard right to the end, and Davis looked to have it in the bag with a scrum after 79 minutes inside the Chico 22. Instead of keeping it tight and squeezing the life out of the game, they span it wide where it was duly picked off by the Chico outside centre.

They took it straight down the field to the Davis 22, where several phases, crossing the pitch line to line 3 times, and finally making the overlap count in the corner for an 82nd minute try. Crowd goes wild. Well, half of it does anyway.

Thanks to ARs Wood and Walsh, as well as Kat Todd for pointing out my amusing 'holding on' secondary signal. At least I had one :)

Seconds: UC Davis 5 – CHICO STATE 12 Referee: Rich Boyer
Referee Coach: Kat Todd-Schwartz
Chico State showed up in ones and twos so the game began a bit late under very foggy conditions. Both teams were willing to run the ball, but back play was spotty and continuous passing a rare thing. UC Davis had a number of new players who, although good athletes, were challenged by the rules at times.

Chico scored first on a ball passed inaccurately from a scrum into goal. A quick-thinking Chico back dived to touch the ball down. UC Davis replied with a fine try from the base of a scrum, 8 man scoring. The final try was awarded in the second half through good pick and drives by Chico, with the lock being the beneficiary.

Maritime Academy – Santa Clara Referee: Rich Anderson
AR: Bolen
No report received.

Seconds: MARITIME ACADEMY 15 – Santa Clara 13 Referee: John Coppinger
At fog-bound Vallejo, Cal Maritime dominated possession, but Santa Clara hung in the match until the end.

Santa Rosa JC 15 – UC SANTA CRUZ 17 Referee: Tom Zanarini
A tale of two halves on a beautiful sunny day at For Pete's Sake Field. SRJC was up 10 to 0 at half time, attacking steadily and foiling a couple of sure UCSC tries. SRJC scored within a minute of the second half kickoff and seemed to be in control. UCSC gathered themselves and spent most of the second half in attacking position. Missed conversions kicks made the difference.

Lobo Tens at Elsie Allen
Referees: Sean Peters, Cary Bertolone, Mike King
Lobos, Montgomery, Rosa /Newman
A great day it turned out to be, started with Elsie vs Montgomery fast ,hard hitting teams going back in fourth till Lobo's # 15 turned on the speed and scored 2 trys within 2 min, it was back and forth with some hard hitting forwards from Montgomery and some good runs from their backs but was stopped short due to the Lobos defensive counter rucking and quick speed.

Lobos vs Rosa/Newman, Rosa showed up a little late, players were not really ready for the Lobos, fast rucking and fast backs kinda stunned the defensive line of the Rosa boys early on and they couldn't come back.

Rosa/Newman vs Montgomery this was a good match up both teams pretty equal, big forwards from Montgomery and fast backs of Rosa, lots of fun both went back to back good hard tackles, some long runs from both sides but Montgomery wanted it more and was more of the Victor today .....

All clubs are looking great they have some new talent and some old returners should be a fun year .....

Palmer, Byrnes, Rauscher, Bruce, Wilson. Pohlman, Ricard, Moore, Jury
Report by Bryant Byrnes:
Stanford Invitational Tournament. Starting at 9:30 and going until after 5 on a lovely warm Saturday, twelve women's college sides played eighteen games. Nine refs did matches, and were assisted by two others, Eric Rauscher and Preston Gordon, who did peer coaching.

The days of their youth are the days of their glory. Three new members of the Society-Bruce Ricard, Liz Palmer, and Stephanie Bruce- had a full slate of matches. This is an excellent rookie crop. The improvement was palpable.

Tournaments are the rock concerts of rugby; the gathering of the rugby tribe. If one has the opportunity, sign up!


2011 Rugby refereeing started up for me this weekend. From the games I did this weekend the state of rugby in the US is alive, growing and going to reach a higher level in the coming years.

I started at the Stanford Women's tournament. Twelve woman's collegiate teams from the west coast were competing in a two day tournament.

My two games were UCLA 12 Stanford 0. And Oregon 12 Santa Barbara 7. Both games saw quality athletes, plenty of players and good coaching.

On Sunday I refereed an under 14 game between Los Gatos and Santa Clara. Again good athletes and good coaching.

Santa Clara only had thirteen players, so Los Gatos loaned two players. One I recognized was pelican Ben Bravo, an under-12 stepping up to play in a higher age group. The game was competitive throughout. The Final score was Los Gatos 25 Santa Clara 15.

Man of the match was Santa Clara's captain Carmon, an 8th grader from New Zealand who is looking to play with a high school side after the under 14 season is finished.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Wednesday, January 12, 2011




We will meet from 7-9 at the Golden Gate clubhouse on Treasure Island on Wednesday, January 12. Food will be available beginning at six. Plan to arrive early, eat, and talk rugby. If traffic intervenes, you won’t be late.

Need to know, could you ref:
Friday, January 21 there will be two evening games at the Maritime Academy
Friday, January 28 there will be two evening games in Sacramento

Please also send in your availability for February as well.


Referees must report any red cards that they give, as well as yellow cards given for foul play violations of Law 10.4 (kicking, punching, tripping, etc). These should be reported as soon as you are able, and certainly prior to Monday morning for a Saturday game.

Report by e-mail to Art Potter:
IMPORTANT: The format for the report is as follows:

Jan. 32, 2011. Old Haberdashers v. Wankers
Red card to Wankers #7 ¾, Rash D. Cision, CIPP 000000, for violating Law 10.4 (a), punching.


If it was a reflex punch and you think all the miscreant deserves is the standard two-week ban, that’s all you say.

If it was raining blows upon a defenseless opponent repeatedly in the face, THAT STILL IS ALL YOU SAY. A red card for punching is a red card for punching. No what led to what, no detailed sequence of antecedents and counter-reactions that will only serve to call the fidelity of your memory into question should this incident find itself the subject of litigation a year or two later.

But ah – the magic words: you add, “Please call me if you need any further information.”

The magic words mean CALL ME. They mean there is additional information that will better serve its purpose if it’s not preserved in cyberspace for discovery at some future date and time.


The NCRRS, on behalf of its members, has taken advantage of the accident insurance policy offered through USA Rugby.

This will cover members of the Society (CIPP, dues paid, liability waiver on file) for accidents and injuries they sustain during games or traveling for games.

More information about this policy is available at Click on the Zurich logo. Here’s to no claims!


STANFORD Women 79 – UC Santa Cruz Women 0 Referee: Preston Gordon
Steuber Field, 1800
Why is it that whenever I try to schedule an early departure from work they come up with so many quasi-important things for me to do that afternoon? I still haven't figured that one out, but that's why I got to Stanford at 1740. Luckily these two teams were warmed up and ready to play, so the pregame stuff didn't take too long.

While both sides had a number of new players, Stanford was better at exploiting opportunities and playing together. The cold and damp weather had somewhat of an effect on the game, but by playing longer-than-usual advantages and not seeing some marginally mishandled balls, we were able to stay warm and enjoy some good continuity and a fair contest.

Stanford scored 7 tries in the first half (at 5, 12, 19, 23, 27, 37, and 40 minutes), converting five of them, for a halftime score of 45-0. They scored 6 more tries in the second half (at 4, 10, 12, 18, 26, and 38 minutes), converting two of them, to finish the match at 79-0. The scoreline was only marred by a 71st minute yellow card to a Stanford player for a high tackle.

The temperature dropped as the match went on, and at one point the referee was seen warming his hands over the barbecue while waiting for the arrival of the kicking tee for one of the second-half conversions. It wasn't too cold to stick around to AR for the seconds’ game, however.

Stanford seconds 0 – SEAHAWKS 30 Referee: Stephen Moore
AR: Preston Gordon

SACRAMENTO CAPITALS 34 – Sacramento State 5 Referee: Scott Wood
Referee Coach: Kat Todd-Schwartz
ARs: Chris Tucker, Donal Walsh
TJ: Steve Seifert
Referee Coach: Kat Todd-Schwartz
Location: Sacramento Mud Bowl aka Florin Reservoir Park West

First off, it was cold. Not the enjoyable "let's go skiing" cold but rather the mind-numbing "what were we thinking" cold. Second, since the normal Danny Nunn pitch was flooded, we had to play on the "higher elevation" pitch adjacent to the west. If you haven't had the experience, pray you never get it. If you've been there, you know what I'm talking about. (Side note: The first rugby match I ever played was in this swamp. It was also the first (and only) concussion I've received.)

Sacramento State has a good number of players ready for action. Sacramento Capitals have been assisting with coaching the collegians but apparently didn't teach them all the tricks. We started off with a reasonably-sized crowd (est. 40 spectators) considering the conditions.

The match was sloppy. After all, how can you get clean ball when it's slathered with mud? Clearing kicks would stick in the ground. Feet slipped. Tackles missed. Players dove, didn't/couldn't roll. The first chucker just didn't seem to gain any continuity or flow. The hosts scored an early penalty goal followed by two tries to close the period 15-0.

After a brief discussion with Kat, we started the second period strong. The Capitals again poured on the power but the Hornets defended well. The hosts put in two more tries before Sacramento State found its footing. Using a rare spot of solid(ish) ground as a platform, they attacked the goal line. And attacked. And attacked. One unplayable resulted in an attacking 5-meter scrum. Again the Capitals defended well as I moved in and out and in and out of goal. Then, in what I can only describe as a brief bout of premonition, I saw the opening the visitors needed on the wing so I started to run out in anticipation of the pass. Unfortunately, the scrum half passed slower than I expected; however, I was able to stop on a dime (again, another first...) and the ball barely missed drilling me. I slogged (that's what sprinting should be called on this bit of ground) around to in-goal to have the try scored near(ish) to my feet. The second chucker closed with the Capitals holding a commanding 27-5 lead.

The third period featured three new props (two with bright, clean red jerseys) and a handful of new backs. While we agreed to 30-minute periods, the captains opined that a "fast" 30 would be nice. First scrum collapsed. Second held up. Capitals scored another try. The third scrum was in a mud pile. Fourth was "conveniently" located in a dry patch (sole judge of fact, law and location...). The fifth was in a bog. The sixth was immediately adjacent. The next knock-on resulted in the final whistle.

We adjourned to the Capitals' clubhouse. Yes, clubhouse. They purchased a house immediately adjacent to Florin Reservoir Park and have outlined some great plans for it. I look forward to future events at their facility.

Seconds: Sac Capitals – Sac State CANCELED

SFGG SL 44 – San Mateo 12 Referee: George O'Neil
Evaluator: David Williamson

SFGG Colts 0 – EPA BULLDOGS 24 Referee: Preston Gordon
Ray Sheeran Field, Treasure Island, 1300
ARs (variously): George O'Neil, Liz Palmer, Eric Rauscher, one unknown SFGG player, maybe someone else?

This game was a pre-season contest played in 4 20-minute periods. Both sides looked to be up for the game and didn't disappoint. We got started just after 1pm, and spent the first 20 minutes having multiple scrums as the rust wore off (0-0). The next 3 periods were a much better exhibition of rugby, with ferocious but fair tackling, with only one or two exceptions. The players were clearly looking for opportunities to keep the ball alive at the breakdowns and the interplay was good on both sides too.

EPA Bulldogs scored tries at 32, 61, 66, and 72 minutes, converting the last two. There were a couple of balls either held up or knocked on over the goal line as well, and SFGG came very close to scoring a few times - the result perhaps flatters EPA slightly.

There were 2 yellow cards in this game; one to a Bulldogs player for cynical play, and one to SFGG for a high tackle. Other than that it was a good, fast game with lots of ball movement. And thanks to the 4+ people who assisted me on the touchline.

SANTA ROSA 83 – Redwood/Vallejo mix 0 Referee: See below

I was scheduled to ref the Sac Capitals 2's vs Sac State 2's, but I was informed that the game was canceled for lack of numbers from Sac State. I turned around, headed home, and touched judged for Tom Zanarini, instead!

By the 1pm kickoff time at For Pete's Sake Field in Santa Rosa, D2 Santa Rosa was warmed up and ready to play, Mike King (volunteer) was mic'd up and ready to AR, and an eager 9-year-old TJ was ready to officiate, but there was one problem: none of the D3 Redwood Empire players were at the field. 30 minutes later, some of them had trickled in as the Redwood coach desperately tried to cobble together a team of random walk-ons, but it became clear that their CIPP status was dubious at best. I regretfully informed the teams that I could not referee unless all players are CIPP'd, which they understood. All was not lost though: I was able to complete a solid workout at the nearby Santa Rosa JC stadium, a nice facility.

Some CIPP issues prior to the match required Vallejo to fill in for Redwood. Afa Wolfking, Redwood’s coach, refereed the first half and then I took over.

SANTA ROSA seconds 99 – Vallejo 5 Ref: Zanarini
Four 20-minute quarters played in pre-season fashion.

SOUTH VALLEY – Diablo Gaels Referee: Paul Bretz
8 trys to 5 for Gaels. FITNESS, FITNESS, FITNESS

UC Santa Cruz 24 – Aptos/Monterey 24 Referee: James Hinkin
On a cold but clear day in Santa Cruz the Aptos/Monterey side traveled the short distance north for a preseason clash with UCSC. Speaking with the travelers it looks like Aptos and Monterey will be one club this year. They are CIPP'd as Monterey, at least. Speaking with both captains 4 20-minute periods were decided upon. UCSC had the advantage of numbers, youth and the home pitch while A/M had the advantage of experience and size. The new, slower scrum cadence still seems to be causing issues with teams that want to engage immediately, but after a few false starts both teams settled down and the scrums did not collapse once. In fact, the only resets were for the ball not being hooked and turning 90 degrees. Looks like this new-fangled cadence is working.

UCSC got on the board first as A/M's tackling let them down. Several broken tackles led to a try dutifully centered under the posts. A/M was able to hit back with a converted try before the first break and at 20 min we had a 7-7 score. The second 20 minutes saw an even contest but the collegians were able to breach the A/M defense for a second try that remained unconverted. With time running out in the half A/M had a break down the left side with their prop standing on the wing. The overlap was worked to him and he put his head down to go for the line but was hit a meter short. Two tacklers and the tacklee went into the try zone and landed with the defenders under the ball. The A/M prop's momentum rolled him over where he grounded the ball and looked for a signal from me. Unfortunately he was lying with half his body in touch and yea, it was very close but I determined he was in touch before he grounded the ball. This was a decision for a TMO but I unaccountably had misplaced mine on the way to the pitch and didn't carry a spare. This will prove significant. We went into the break 12-7.

The second half saw subs from both sides and the inexperience showed - especially for the Slugs. They missed some key tackles and were getting pushed in the scrums and that put A/M on the front foot. They took advantage of it and were able to claw a try back. This was unconverted to tie the score at 12-12. The score remained knotted up at 12 when we stopped for the 20 minute break and I started to get nervous. Almost immediately the tie was broken by UCSC as they started to put more phases together and, combined with a series of silly penalties near the goal line, a try was scored. No conversion so the score moved to 19-12.

(Side note: This was a weird one. A/M had a couple of penalties in quick succession and were backed up against their try line. A flanker went offside again to grab the scrumhalf and I shouted "NO! GREEN 6 YOU'RE OFFSIDE!" He continued to tackle the scrumhalf who was trying to pass and the result was a weak dribbler, so I called "Advantage" and put an arm out. I never blew the whistle. Apparently both sides assumed I had called a penalty because A/M retreated to the goal line and UCSC picked the ball up, walked to where I was standing and placed it on the ground. Then the captain and #2 tapped the ball with his foot and ran it in for a try. I spent this whole period with my arm out waiting for someone to realize play was still going on. The way everyone went about things, though, resulted in no knock-ons or any other infraction so I just went with the flow and awarded the try.)

A/M then started to reassert themselves and pushed across for another try. With the conversion wide this seesaw battle was tied again and I got nervous again. With one minute left, however, I was given hope with a penalty about 25 meters out to A/M. Posts were indicated, the ball was carefully placed, the kick went up... and clanged off the upright. We had time for the resulting 22 meter drop and a few phases later a knock on ended the half. 19-19. A tie.

Yet again hope came to my rescue as both sides agreed to a 5th period to assure everyone got some playing time. We kicked off and battled anew. By this time A/M had a few UCSC players filling out their numbers and they continued their form from the end of the previous period. An unconverted try was soon in the books for a 24-19 lead. With time running out the Slugs surged forward and scored a well worked try to tie the game again. This try was right under the posts so a conversion was assured and a 2 point win was in the bag.

Except the kick was mis-hit. The ball was hooked left. 24-24. Next stoppage ends the game. The ball gets kicked to touch.

Looks like the drinks are on me Wednesday.

RENO ACADEMY 67 – Colusa 15 Referee: Phil Akroyd
If a terrorist group wished to destroy one of the world’s most valuable commodities – Pelican Refs – then they could have done worse than pick Golden Eagle Park in the City of Sparks as their target, on Saturday afternoon. In attendance, in addition to myself, were Referees Salgado, Ulibarri (running the lines), Pattalock, Wilkening and Anderson. Not a bad turn out for one game in Reno.

The weather brought out the natives. The skies were clear and blue, and the air was cold but most importantly, the sun was shining. Perfect rugby weather. The playing surface was pretty good too. We played on one of the three new multi-purpose field turf pitches. Once we had removed a couple of patches of frozen snow, we got the game under way.

Reno played in the opposition half for most of the game. The first time they got across the try line, the winger ran over the dead-ball line, despite the Reno captain assuring me before the game that his players were familiar with the lines. They scored from the ensuing 22 drop out but didn’t convert. A few minutes later, the Reno full-back also ran the ball through the dead ball line, then they scored again and again and again.

One of the best first-half tries was a chip and chase form the half way line from the Reno fly-half. Colusa didn’t really compete in any area of the game. The scrums were under-powered, committed to rucks in ones and twos and had little to no possession to use in the backs. 38-0 at half-time.

Reno backed off a little in the second half and Colusa came back with three unconverted tries toward the end however, Reno scored five tries in the same half. Final score 67-15.

MARIN HIGHLANDERS 54 – Danville 0 Referee: John Coppinger
Marin were more organized, athletic, and adventurous on the day and ran away from Danville 54-0 on a cold, gray day on the turf at Redwood High in Corte Madera. There are a number of talented and committed rugby players on the Marin side.

JV: MARIN HIGHLANDERS 9 trys – Danville 0 Referee: Bruce Bernstein
Played a scrimmage of 3 periods with Marin dominating after a slow start in the first period.

Nice artificial grass field at Redwood HS in Larkspur with a chill/fog lingering.

Wednesday, December 29:
High School All-Americans – CANADA U17 Referee: Don Pattalock
ARs: Bruce Carter, Bill Caulfield (SoCal)
This was a mid-week scrimmage to help the coaching staffs decide on their top fifteens for the formal matchup two days later, with unlimited in-and-out substitutions.

The All-Americans had a lead early when a fellow in yellow shoes tip-toed down the touchline more than fifty meters despite three guys having a shot at him with no room to maneuver. This turns out to be Jesuit’s Matt Chipman, who scored four tries in the main match on New Year’s Eve.

December 31:
HIGH SCHOOL ALL-AMERICANS 44 – Canada U17, 29 Referee: Joe Androvich
On New Year’s Eve morning, Canada U17s played USA U17s in Santa Barbara, California. The weather was clear and cold. The match was scheduled for 9am, but Canada arrived to the pitch at 8:55am in warm ups and sneakers, thinking the match was to kick at 9:30. It took some diplomacy to get the coaches to agree on national anthems at 9:10am, kick off at 9:15am.

Nonetheless, the game kicked off at 9:15am. It was FAST and well played. Not long ago, it felt like USA HSAA teams were comprised of a bunch of really good football players playing rugby in the offseason. Now, it is clear that this team is full of really good rugby players playing rugby. Athleticism is off the charts.

The pattern they played was a testament to the coaching. They had line out plays, scrum calls and clear systems in defense and attack.

In the end, USA won 44-29, with a whole bunch of tries scored by a J High winger which I was happy to see.


Don Goard checks in a fascinating link to a phenomenon that might draw you to Yosemite on a rugby day off. The magic of frazil ice:

The Training Committee of the Referee and Laws committee met in San Antonio this past weekend. That’s tough duty.

Left to right (foreground only): Harry Laws (Indiana), Jen Gray and Ed Todd of USA Rugby, Peter Watson (New England) and Sam Reagle (now Texas).


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Wednesday, January 05, 2011




This season will ring in like the rest of them: with more referees needed.

Sunday, January 16:
A few more refs are needed for the Stanford Invitational. There will be games on two pitches from 9 until 4.

Saturday, January 22: Need 4-5 more refs

Saturday, January 29: Need 3-4 more refs

If you have not responded with your January availability, please do so.

And you might as well start thinking about February! We can fill in the availability spreadsheet in advance, anytime.


We will meet from 7-9 at the Golden Gate clubhouse on Treasure Island on Wednesday, January 12. Food will be available beginning at six. Plan to arrive early, eat, and talk rugby. If traffic intervenes, you won’t be late.

Saturday, December 18

MONTEREY BAY 49 – Paso Robles 7 Referee: Bruce Carter
Rain proved no deterrent for the new Paso Robles team, who drove a couple of hours up Highway 101 to play the Monterey Bay team in the week before Christmas.

Preston Park in the former Fort Ord hosted the match. Your writer recalls running by this park more than 25 years ago when the Army was kind enough to station him and his family at Fort Ord. In those days the local XV played on a couple of fields on the army base that have since gone to seed or been paved over.

Paso Robles is expecting Santa to bring their kit: upon seeing them in mostly-matching t-shirts, the referee was told, “We’ll be getting our jerseys next week!”

Despite the narrowness of the field, Monterey’s backs from touchline to touchline could find or make gaps, from whence came their nine tries.

Paso’s was the result of Richard Sowerby running about forty meters up the center of the pitch, dodging several would-be tacklers and stepping out of another’s grasp.

D3 is alive and well. The referee was invited, repeatedly, to join the lads in lifting a glass to share the sentiments of the season after the match. Alas, it was the night of the office Christmas Party, the same sentiments in a different setting.

But your writer being the boss, the folks at the office party could be made to listen to tales of the day’s rugby!

Santa Rosa 24 – EAST PALO ALTO RAZORBACKS 29 Referee: Tom Zanarini
Wet, damp cool breeze (aka: rugby weather!)
I was lucky enough to get a last minute assignment on Thursday for this match before rugby goes into holiday hibernation and I go back east to visit the families. EPA cited traffic issues due to weather for their late arrival, but sprung to life not needing much warmup. I asked the captain how much time they needed to get ready and the quick response was, "We're ready now." Uh, your team is still getting out of the cars, but ok.
The whistle blew a mere 35 minutes past one (see Bruce, not ALL games start at 1pm!) and we were on.

Tight contest but slippery fingers. Lots of rain induced knock-ons, including 2 EPA knocks in goal in each half. This was a good ole ruckfest, but I did have to put my sprint shoes on a few times. One unfortunate play left a Santa Rosa player on the pitch for 15+ minutes concussed and lacerated. Santa Rosa's finest were there quickly and hopefully the young back is recovering nicely. Luckily he already had a shaved head. Due to the late start and injury time the captains agreed to shorten the 2nd half to 30 min. to allow the B-side some playing time as well. Second half, same as the first. Players keeping the ball inside mostly. Santa Rosa had a nice push in the end, scoring at the buzzer. In fact, they scored at the buzzer of halftime as well. The scuttled 10 minutes could have produced a different result, but being preseason that doesn't really matter. Both teams performed very well and should have a great season in their divisions.

Santa Rosa is posting their videos on their website, password protected. If you get a chance to referee them this coming season, you'll have quick access to review your match. I've already worked out some positioning corrections.
Merry Christmas!

Seconds: Santa Rosa 15 – EAST PALO ALTO RAZORBACKS 19 Referee: Cary Bertolone
EPA arrived an hour late, so the times were pushed back. The second side game began at 3:15, getting quite dark by the end of the 80 minute game. It quickly became apparent that several players from EPA were new to the game and/or were very young. This resulted in some ridiculous rugby; wherein, EPA was trying to tackle the flyhalf from Rosa during a penalty kick, players playing it on the ground, over 7 penalties for not being back ten, twice having been found with 15 players on the field when there should have been 14 and the EPA scrumhalf not knowing anything about his job while on defense. I believed, at the time, that they were innocent mistakes and didn't take the coach to task as it was a second side, preseason game. These mistakes caused an almost-ruckus, early on. I called a time out and brought the entire EPA team together for a summary of the game and the fact that no tolerance will be given for foul play. That is when I saw how young and inexperienced some of them were. I then communicated this info to Rosa and I became much more verbal, trying to keep EPA from making so many mistakes.

For all of that, EPA was very tough in every way. Rosa took the early lead and were ahead until the second half, when EPA scored two more tries to win 19-15. For all of the mud that was flying, it was a lively second half and both teams played enthusiastically and it was probably a lot of fun to watch. Actually, I was able to watch a tape of the match and it was a good match to watch!!

SFGG 55 – Marin 10 Referee: Tony Levitan
The pre-season friendly was held in a modest weather break in the heavy rains of the week, offering just enough of an opening for the powers-that-be at SFGG to sanction a run on their terrific pitch and finishing immediately in front of another, well, front, that dropped another deluge on Treasure Island. Overall, it was a good spirited run by both squads.

The heavy-going pitch didn't slow down SFGG much in a match that featured 10 tries, including a number of long collaborative efforts by SFGG. The set play was well-behaved save a scrum or two marred by early engagement, the loose play a wee bit messy thanks to the conditions and early-season honing of this season's approach to the tackle and rucks (by both the players and the ref). Overall, SFGG was the more assertive, more directed side -- especially once a few seriously-impressive RSL players made cameos in the 2nd half (though the SFGG Coach did limit them to 2 on the pitch at any given time). Marin offered a slew of inspiring moments in attack but often lost out to either SFGG aggression or numbers after multiple probes of the SFGG defense. Nonetheless, Marin's effort was stout till the final whistle.

We did have a yellow card to each side, one for two consecutive high tackles by a Marin player, and SFGG's for an unabashed attempt to collapse a maul. The post-match gathering was yellow/red card-free ...


The basic rugby referee course will be offered in Sacramento on Sunday, January 9.

Any coach of a college team who attends with one or two players from that team will have their course fees reimbursed at the meeting, courtesy of a friendly donor.

The lead instructor will be Matt Eason: Let him know if you plan to attend. On-line registration is available.

O Club - Caps
Don Pattalock works the scrum at the Try For Others tournament in Sacramento on December 11, as the Olympic Club puts in against the Sacramento Capitals.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris